Whitley Bay school backs campaign to cut air pollution

Children are showing their support to a campaign to help reduce localised air pollution.

By David Sedgwick
Monday, 7th February 2022, 12:32 pm
Updated Monday, 7th February 2022, 1:34 pm
Cllr Sandra Graham (right), with Rockcliffe member of staff Ellie Ratcliffe and students from the school.
Cllr Sandra Graham (right), with Rockcliffe member of staff Ellie Ratcliffe and students from the school.

North Tyneside Council launched an anti-idling campaign to encourage motorists to switch off their engines when stationary – and Rockcliffe First School, in Whitley Bay, is the latest to back the campaign.

Headteacher Sharron Colpitts-Elliott said: “Our school community is very considerate so if any drivers do happen to leave their engines running nearby, we know it would be completely unintentional – that’s why this campaign is so important to raise awareness about the harm vehicle idling can do.

“The campaign also supplements our projects within school to help to tackle climate change and be more sustainable, which includes an allotment we have created in our playground in support of our Sow! Grow! Cook! Eat! project, which has kept on growing and developing over the years.

Cllr Sandra Graham with pupils from Rockcliffe First School.

“We regularly held our own climate marches around the building and grounds before the arrival of Covid restrictions and hope that they will be able to resume soon!

"We’re aware of the link between climate change and problems for farmers around the world and look forward to highlighting this issue during Fairtrade Fortnight.”

Other schools in the borough have supported the council’s campaign, which includes a visit and support from the Go Smarter team, provided by the council’s partner Capita, which works with schools to promote sustainable and active travel.

The team’s primary focus is to reduce motor traffic around schools to improve safety, congestion and air quality, but some driving inevitably continues.

But the message for those who cannot switch to other modes of travel is to at least help reduce pollution by parking away from the gate and turning off their engine.

Cllr Sandra Graham, cabinet member for Environment, said: “Air pollution poses a serious environmental risk to our health, and we will continue to do all we can to tackle it and raise awareness of the dangers of it, particularly vehicle idling.

“Vehicle idling is a major factor in poor air quality, particularly in areas with large numbers of waiting vehicles – such as outside schools.

"Turning our engines off when stationary is an easy but effective way to improve it and protect the health of one another.”